Sunday, December 4, 2022

2022/23 Chris-tmas Holiday Advent (Sample Exchange)

A local group I’m part of is doing a Christmas Calendar of blind samples. There are 22 samples with 22 guesses and 22 blind reviews. This is organized by friend Chris, thus the title. The bottles are supposed to be $80+ which both limits the choices and makes it much harder to guess. I’ll be updating this as I go!

The format is going to be:

Name — Brief Notes — Guess: — Reveal:

  1. GN — High proof and grain forward nose, picks up more sweet vanilla with time in glass. Light sulfur quickly fading. Tons of red berries on sugar-sweet palate. Raspberries, strawberries, caramelized pineapple, cloves, light cinnamon. Spicy and lingering finish that stays sweet through to the end — Guess: N/A — Yay — Reveal: Barrell 18 year old Kentucky Straight Whiskey, K&L #A111, 58.33%
  2. BT — High proof, light roasted almonds, vanilla toastiness on the nose, cherries? High proof indeed on the palate, lots of spice, a particular metallic nuttiness is present. The aftertaste drops off fast but tingles with cinnamon in the very end for a while. Few drops of water scale back the ethanol burn, but doesn’t make it taste young. — Guess: Light Whiskey 15; ABV: 60%+ — Nay+ — Reveal: Blue Run, High Rye, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 55.5%
  3. JR — Toasted wood and baking spices on the nose. Highly enjoyable to sniff. Sweet, not over-proofed palate. Reasonably high rye being spicy. Toasted wood-saturated palate, lots of baking spices. The aftertaste is pleasantly long, gets warmer in the back of the throat. Feels little malty, but unlikely to be a malt. — Guess: Henry McKenna or Low-proofed ECBP — Yay- — Reveal: Old Elk Wheated Straight Bourbon, MGP; Total Wine NorCal SiB; 56.9%; Mashbill: 51% corn, 45% Wheat, 4% Malted Barley.
  4. JP — Definite malt on the nose. Tropical fruits, reasonably high proof, very light sulfur that fades quick. High proof palate, some grain; tropical fruits cut by the what I can only call grain notes. Long, high proof, cloves and cinnamon, and light tropical fruit aftertaste — Guess: Almost screams Irish with malt + grain mix. High proof Two Stacks? Reminds me of Teeling but too high proof for their regular stuff. Could be Redbreast Cask Proof — Yay — Reveal: Milk & Honey Single Malt; River City Whiskey Society SiB, Ex-bourbon; 59.5%
  5. KM — Nose has cinnamon vanilla ice cream & bananas. With time opens up into almost sherry notes. Palate is very fruity with more bananas and is backed up, yet not overpowered, by baking spices, cloves, nutmeg. Medium-long, sugary, lightly spiced aftertaste. Not overly malty, surprisingly — Guess: World Malt. Possibly American (bananas). Something Stranahan’s? Unlikely Scotch; 45% — Yay — Reveal: Green Spot Chateau Montelena Irish Whiskey, finished in Zinfandel barrels; 46%
  6. MBA — Nutty, sulfuric, dark & brooding nose, dried figs, light burnt rubber. On the palate, high proof, more rubber, lots of malt, nuttiness, sawdust. Long spicy sweet finish. Would be amazing if not for the rubber note — Guess: Amrut SiB Sherry Cask; Honorable mention to Balcones Rumble — Yay- — Reveal: Balcones True Blue Cask Strength, Eureka SP, 65%
  7. CB — Lightly metallic wine note on the nose combined with light malt and high proof; not quite sherry, not quite red wine. Reminds me of an old humidor with perfumed tobacco and wood. The palate’s got prunes, lots of spice, woodiness, malt, layers of complexity. Malty, sweet, long and gentle finish with a spicy tingle at the very end that turns into sawdust dryness — Guess: Malt; double or triple casked; with a wine cask in the mix. Random Callout: Glenallachie Cask Strength — Yay — Reveal: Maker’s Mark BRT-02; 54.7%
  8. PC — Dry wood sawdust/wood chips nose. The palate’s got sweet cinnamon, high-ish but not overpowering proof, sugar-roasted walnuts. More walnuts in the aftertaste that last for a while with a slightly metallic tingle — Guess: Old Weller Antique Single Cask? This got some characteristics of MPG and Knob Creek too but not corny. Tastes like something out of Buffalo Trace — Yay — Reveal: Maker’s Mark Total Wine Private Selection; #20044 “Fireside Spice” ; 55%
  9. SR — Baked apples & perfume nose. Rye?. Light dill. Palate is sweet, peppery, light metallic tang, doesn’t taste like rye at all, unlike the nose. Highly drinkable proof and in general super drinkable. Long sweet aftertaste with mellow spices. — Guess: Something from Wild Turkey? Russell’s Reserve 10 — Yay — Reveal: High West Bourye, 22A10; 46%
  10. DW — Chocolate and cigarettes on the nose. Lots of wet leather and some grain spirit notes. Malt on the palate, coffee, bitter chocolate, spices, not sweet, light nuttiness. More bitter chocolate and coffee on the medium length aftertaste — Guess: Scotch. Edradour? Kirkland Sherry Cask Finish? 46%– Yay — Reveal: Yamazaki 12, 43%
  11. JK — Bourbony, high proof, wood, vanilla, minwax wood finisher, caramel, cinnamon nose. What I can describe as MGP palate, high proof, sweet, slightly sour, bitter with wood, loads of baking spices with cinnamon dominating. Long warm and peppery aftertaste. — Guess: High proof MGP, Possibly Joseph Magnus bottle, or from someone that sources (NBC) — Yay — Reveal: Elijah Craig Private Barrel 8; LiquorLand Pick - Thekedar S&M, 65.05%
  12. VS — Vanilla toasted wood caramel nose, tobacco. Liquid caramel and wine finish on the palate. Very hot, light maltiness. Short hot and sweet aftertaste — Guess: Westward Malt Single Cask, Wine Cask. — Nay+ — Reveal: Obtainium Light Whiskey, Finished in PlumpJack Cab Barrel; 68.7%
  13. EM — Strong, nutty, slightly sour, woodyness on the nose. The palate is full of roasted nuts with peanuts dominating but backed up by a core of near-bitter woodiness. Woody, nearly bitter, nutty lingering finish. — Guess: Something Beam Based. Bakers? Knob Creek? — Yay- — Reveal: Bib & Tucker 12; OCBS / Cypress pick ; 49.5%
  14. IT — Perfume galore on the nose, with somewhat spicy flowers. Sweet & fruity palate, balanced spices that don’t overwhelm, woody vanilla, lightly drying. Loooong aftertaste gentle with sweet sichuan numbing peppers that lasts and lasts — Guess: I’m stumped… — Yay — Reveal: Smoke Wagon Straight Rye Whiskey Bottled-in-Bond, 50%
  15. JE — Rye nose, roasted caraway seeds, light fennel. Palate starts sweet becomes spicy with some rye spice while staying sweet and unobtrusive. Not too proofy, but somehow numbing in the mouth, somewhat medicinal. Aftertaste is short and mostly missing. — Guess: Templeton Rye — Nay — Reveal: Spirit Works Rye Whiskey 8; 45%
  16. KF — Rye nose, but with a solidly nutty and noticeably darker undertones. The secondary notes here reminded me of a cigar smoke. Oh wow, high proof, flavorful, more of the same cigar coffee notes. Lingering spice in the aftertaste with some dill — Guess: Templeton Cask Proof Rye — Yay- — Reveal: Traverse City Straight Rye 7; Total Wine SiB; 59%
  17. TO — Sweet and funky to the point of smelling almost like spoiled vegetables (sulfur). High-ish proof caramel behind that funk note though. On the palate, caramel, none of the funk. Sweet, proofy, red fruit notes. Long aftertaste with sometimes-gentle, sometimes hot, cinnamon follows — Guess: Texas-style High Proof Bourbon — Nay+ — Reveal: Frey Ranch Single Cask; 62.23%
  18. TV — Sweet and grassy with a bit of a spoiled fruit note oddly contrasting the veggie note from the other SbS. The palate starts sweet, then turns bitter, then turns sweet and honeyed again. Light, sweet aftertaste follows with more honey — Guess: Something High proof with honey. Tough Call. Since its SbS with TO Perhaps Good Times regular and honey finish? — Yay- — Reveal: Westward Single Cask; 57%
  19. KT — High proof sweet caramel on the nose… Not overpowering, woody, sweet, lightly corny, toasted vanilla palate. Lightly spiced finish that lingers sweetly but doesn’t overwhelm — Guess: Larceny Cask Proof? — Yay- — Reveal: Baker’s 107; 11.8 years old, Costco Bay Area SiB; 53.5%
  20. KK — Color: Dark! Tear-inducing proof, lots of wood on the palate. Very very very hot palate that overwhelms everything. Cinnamon, wood, baking spices. Long aftertaste with more cinnamon and baking spices. Water highly recommended to tame the beast — Guess: Google suggests it’s ECBP; nearly 140 proof, sure, let’s go with this — Yay — Reveal: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Release #8; 69.9%

What an unexpected lineup! Happy Holidays!